Greenhouse Playlab at the Museum of Science

I have been working all year to write The Vault, commissioned by Flat Earth Theatre in collaboration with the Museum of Science Boston, exploring the intersection of climate change justice and theatre: The Greenhouse Playlab: a Climate Change Theatre Incubator.

The Greenhouse kicks off this Friday, May 4th, at the Museum of Science Boston1 Museum of Science Driveway, Cambridge, MA, featuring excerpts from all four of the brand-new plays commissioned from four Boston playwrights addressing climate change, as well as an introduction by Mark C. Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and author of Brave New Arctic.
Full readings of the four plays will then be held on Sundays throughout May and June at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge.  It has been such a treat to see these inspiring artists develop their plays over the course of the year.
My play The Vault will have a full reading on Sunday May 6th.
All events are free and open to the public, but the event this Friday is expected to sell out, so we recommend you reserve your seats in advance.
Thanks, and I hope to see you there!  See below for more info!
Flat Earth Theatre & the Museum of Science Boston present:
THE GREENHOUSE PLAYLAB:
A CLIMATE CHANGE THEATRE INCUBATOR
 
KICKOFF EVENT
THIS FRIDAY, May 4th, 2018 | 7:00pm
The Museum of Science Boston | 1 Museum of Science Driveway, Boston, 02114
 
READINGS OF THE FULL PLAYS
Sundays in May and June, 2018 | 7:00pm
The Vault
By Nina Louise Morrison
Directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
Sunday, May 6th
The Aftermath of Chaos
By Kevin Mullins
Directed by Betsy S. Goldman
Sunday, May 13th
(We Are) The Antarcticans
By MJ Halberstadt
Directed by Noah Simes
Sunday, May 20th
Pay No Worship
By Francisca Da Silveira
Directed by Tonasia Jones
Sunday, June 3rd

If You Fall In Love With Project: Project…

After you close a show, you can feel bereft. No more late nights hanging lights, no more communal snacks, no more emergency-dragon-puppet-making.  But you can take little bits of wisdom with you for the next project.  Here is a line from SHIVER that sticks with me.  It boils down the message of the play, and was poignantly delivered by the brilliant Scot Colford as Wilhelm Grimm to the delightful Louise Hamill (also “one of most tireless forces in the Boston theatre scene” –Edge Boston) playing the heroine Charlotte , a character who was so caught up in her own fears she was pushing the people in her life away.  This is a mantra I will carry with me far beyond this one production.  Project: Project, this one is for you.

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Sometimes, Success

Sometimes, when making devised theatre on a shoestring budget, you work for two long years to see your production premiere for just two short weekends. You make postcards and posters, you promote your show through a press release and social media. You even hire an amazing designer willing to work on a tiny piece of that shoestring to help market the show. You hope people will come, that word of mouth will be positive, and that the various ways you promote the show, mostly online, will result in a live audience of humans sitting in seats.

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Image courtesy of LidecPhoto.com
Ultimately though, you expect to see your friends, colleagues, people you’ve seen around town at other small theatre companies, a few folks from the press, and that’s about it. It’s about the work, after all, making something you can believe in with your whole soul, and hopefully creating meaningful work for your collaborators and the actors and designers you love.
But sometimes when you are posing with your mom in front of the theatre so you can remember this day and how she got up at 5am to drive to Boston to see your show, a stranger comes up to you. And he has an accent and he says he’s new to Boston, and you say welcome! And he wants to know – how do you buy tickets? Is the show any good? And of course you say it’s great and that you in fact made it and that the theatre will be open soon and he should come!
And then an hour later just as you begin to wonder if he will actually find his way back to the theatre – he walks in and buys a ticket! And as you walk him down the hall to the theatre you find out, yes, he’s a student. But you kick yourself later for not asking him more – a name, what he’s studying? Who is this guy who just wandered in with so much interest and curiosity?
And after the show, the audience is flushed from laughing and also from the heat, and you are thanking people for coming as they file out. And he comes up to you, his hair seems to have become – wild – and you think, did the show do that? It is a wild show. And he is BEAMING. He’s SO happy!! And he says the show was great!
And you think: Did we do that? Did we really make this stranger flushed with laughter and heat and happiness? And you think: Yes! Yes we did!
And that, my friends, feels like success.

Five more chances to see Shiver: A Fairytale of Anxious Proportions

Performances:
Thursday, June 25, 8:00pm
Friday, June 26, 8:00pm
Saturday, June 27, 2:00pm (use SHIVER10 at checkout for $10 tickets)
Saturday, June 27, 8:00pm (POST-SHOW TALKBACK)
Sunday, June 28, 2:00pm

Tickets:
$20
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/168

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Dramatic News

Two fabulous bits of news for this fall:

I am a Huntington Playwriting Fellow at the Huntington Theatre Company!  Check out the Boston Globe article HERE.

I am a core member of Project: Project and we are hard at work making our third theatrical experience, and it’s going to be a big magical ride at the Somerville Armory in February.  We are currently raising funds for The Shiver Project over at IndieGoGo – check out our VIDEO to catch a glimpse of what we are creating!

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April Showers Bring First Drafts

The magnolias are blooming, the sun and the rain are playing hide and seek.  Clearly April is right around the corner.  And with April comes more light, more color, the promise of summer and a reprieve from all that darkness and cold that keeps us cooped up all winter. But don’t trade in your computer and your thinking cap for flip flops and sundresses just yet, because April is the perfect time to start writing a new play!  Maybe you’ve heard about those folks who try to write the first draft of a whole novel in just one month for NaNoWriMo. Maybe you’ve even heard about the folks who do this same thing, but for writing plays, also in the month of November, called NaPlWriMo.  Everyone has their own strategies to make this impossible task possible.  They write a certain number of words per day, or per week, but they all just keep those pens and keyboards moving and clicking. It’s an inspiring concept that connects writers from around the globe, gives you a goal and a deadline, and lots of encouragement to write and keep writing.  

My Writing the Full Length Play class begins at Grub Street on April 15th. The course is 10 weeks – which is more than twice the time of NaPlWriMo. My hope is that it will be ample time for playwrights of all experience levels begin writing something new, hear it out loud, work on revisions and even prepare to send it out into the world.   Writing is never easy, no matter how much you’ve written before.  But having others going through it with you can get you to set aside the necessary time and all those unnecessary fears to just do it. I hope we will all be inspired by the example set by NaPlWriMo, and the goal of starting something new and writing it all the way through to the end.  I know I am!

Writing the Full-Length Play

I’m so excited to be teaching at Grub Street this spring – it’s going to be a really fun class. For those of you considering taking my Writing the Full-Length Play class, here are some details about what the class will cover. The class will be tailored to the needs and interests of the students. If you are writing a musical, for example, you should take this class. If you are writing an experimental hybrid multimedia puppet dance piece that includes spoken words, I can help with that too. If you are writing a 3 character, single set, 90-minute comedy-drama, you can write it in this class. If you want to adapt a short play into a longer play, something you’ve written in another genre or something from the public domain, you should totally take this class. Ok, you get the idea. Feel free to contact Grub Street with any further questions if you are wondering if this class will be right for you.

Writing the Full-Length Play is designed for both beginners and more experienced writers.

If this is the first time you are writing a play, you will:
• Discover a supportive community of other writers.
• Learn the fundamentals of playwriting including character, dialogue, conflict and plot.
• Get lots of help getting started with writing exercises, prompts and assignments.
• Plays are meant to be heard out loud – hear new pages every week!
• Get feedback and encouragement.
• Read and discuss inspiring new plays, and learn how to use them for inspiration.
• Learn how to format your play and other professional skills.
• Suddenly have a whole play – that you wrote!
• Get detailed advice tailored to you and your writing about what to do with your work.

If you have written plays before, you will:
• No more writing alone – discover a supportive community of other writers.
• Brush up on those fundamentals including character, dialogue, conflict and plot.
• Plays are meant to be heard out loud – hear new pages every week!
• Learn to articulate your writing goals and challenges, and receive feedback and encouragement.
• Discover new methods for writing and revision.
• Read and discuss inspiring new plays, and learn how to use them for inspiration.
• Learn professional skills including writing synopses and artistic statements.
• Get detailed advice tailored to you and your writing about what to do with your work.

Class Structure
Each class is 3 hours long, giving us time for writing exercises, discussions of outside readings, reading newly written scenes out loud and giving/receiving feedback.

Reading
Every week the outside reading will include one or two new plays from the contemporary canon. These are plays that have been produced in the last twenty years, received multiple productions, been hailed by critics and audiences, are innovative or provocative, etc. They will give you a good sense of the variety of writers, subjects, structures and styles that are flourishing in contemporary theatre today. I’m still finalizing the reading list, but I will likely include plays by Neil LaBute, Sarah Ruhl, Adam Rapp, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Karam, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Suzan-Lori Parks, Douglas Carter Beane, Sheila Callaghan, Kenneth Lonergan, and Paula Vogel. We will also read Backwards and Forwards by David Ball, and a few fundamental acting and directing theories for reference.

Writing
We will do writing exercises at the beginning of each class. There will also be several writing prompts based on the discussion topics and outside readings that you will be able to use in any way you wish to do writing on your own. Most prompts will focus on a particular scene, character, element or moment from one of the plays we’ve read. An example of a prompt is “Like Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate, write about three misfits teaming up against a common enemy.” Other fun writing assignments may include overheard conversations, guided imagery, writing the bad version, improvisations, playing with status and tactics, etc.

Discussion Topics will include:
Structure and Story
Things Audiences Love
Character and Empathy
Conflict: Objective and Obstacle
Action: Cause and Effect
Is Crying Dramatic?: Internal and External Events
The 5 W’s of Revision
How to Listen to Your Play
Breaking the Rules & Other Practical Stuff

And this is so cool: Grub students can get an exclusive discount on Final Draft screenwriting and playwriting software! Final Draft gives you templates for every kind of dialogue based writing you will ever want to do, and makes sure your scripts are automatically formatted properly. It also has all kinds of other helpful shortcuts and things. It’s what most professional playwrights, television writers and screenwriters use.

For more about Grub Street, their fancy new HQ, and to sign up, visit www.grubstreet.org.

Writing the Full-Length Play
10 Sundays from 6:15-9:15pm at Grub Street headquarters.
Begins April 15th.
Start and finish a full-length play in this workshop for both new and experienced playwrights. Students may be at any stage in the process– you may be hatching ideas, have a few pages written, or have already completed a draft. Conquer the blank page and revisions with interactive exercises and assignments. Master strategies for creating compelling structure, action and character development. Hear new pages out loud and learn how to make the most of feedback. Learn what to do with your completed play.